Cooking creativity with ASPIRE students

Working at a kitchen table, from left to right are Yash (standing pouring flour into a blue bowl), Lydia (seated, guiding Yash), teacher Kerry Kent (standing watching Leon), and Leon (seated, measuring sugar on a set of talking weighing scales). There are two kitchen bays in the background.

Anika’s blog

Preparation is a key element of cookery, and students from The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) understand that better than anyone, especially when there are hungry mouths to feed!

16 year old Lydia, 18 year old Yash, and 21 year old Leon have been creating a range of shortbread biscuits. This is in readiness for an Easter event for children at a local primary school in Hereford.

Utilising equipment, such as talking weighing scales, helps students with visual impairments to accurately measure ingredients. Skills are learnt to enable them to live independently. These new-found abilities  will be taken into their halls of residence at the College, homes, and even to places of work in the future.

Leon splits his learning between a Level 2 NVQ diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness and obtaining skills for life on the ASPIRE Study Programme, as well as undertaking the Level 2 Jamie Oliver Home Cooking Skills course.

“I love cooking, especially putting my own twist on well-known dishes,” said Leon. “I also love decorating cakes, having watched my aunty whilst I was growing up. She had a real flair for it, and I’ve taken that on, and take real pride in food presentation. This is important when we are selling items to the public, like at our Winter Wonderland Sale; I designed how the hot chocolate reindeer should be packaged and displayed for sale.”

Leon would love to combine his two courses into a career – running a fitness centre on the one hand, and a confectionery on the other. Through RNC, he is getting plenty of practice at working with clients in the gym, creating products to sell, and dealing with customers in real sales situations.

The work based learning that Leon, Lydia and Yash receive enables them to put their skills into practice, which grows their confidence and gives them better prospects for their future careers.

Not all young people with visual impairments feel that a strictly academic route will give them their greatest chances for success in the life they wish to live. Details of all courses on offer at RNC can be found on our Courses pages.